Heat stress and heat fatigue limit athletic performance. [ref]
Checkout these 11 ways to recover from heat stress and heat fatigue. Increase your perceptual recovery and your ability to beat the heat when you exercise.
1-Evaporation of sweat – Nature’s way to regulate your body temperature.
No shirt, no shoes, no problem. When you get too hot. Your body pushes blood to the skins surface. Where tiny capillaries aid in the removal of heat. Sweat seeps through your pores. The more sweat that evaporates. The more you regulate your body temperature.
However, your sweat wetness, limited by the surface area of your skin. Prevents more sweating. Once your pours fill full of sweat, your rate of sweating slows or stops. Only evaporation will bring about more sweating.
Your sweat wetness creates a barrier between your body and the air. Trapping heat and acting as a warming layer. [ref] Which may add to your perceived discomfort.
Strategies For Increasing Evaporation of Sweat
2-Fans – Great strategy to compensate for lack of air movement indoors. This will help increase the evaporation of your sweat. Improving your rate of exposed skin cooling (face, arms, legs). And also lowering your exposed skin temperature.
Perceptually, the cooling effect feels relieving, and decreases the perceived discomfort of the heat stress when working out.
3-Windy Outdoor Environments – Copy and paste #2 above. But the lack of consistency in air movement decreases the rate of your sweat wetness removal.
Perceptually, you may not even notice the slight difference in air relief. As the dry heat from direct sunlight raises your skin temperature.
4-Low humidity environments – Your rate of sweating increases when you exercise in low humidity. Due to the lack of moisture in the air which increases your rate of sweat evaporation.
Focus on your hydration in low humidity. As dehydration will lead to a reduction in sweating and skin blood flow. Causing a rise in skin and core temperature. [ref]
When setting expectations for your workouts. The more humid the day, the greater your expected heat stress.
5-Towels – Dry towels or similar absorption fabrics can improve your rate of sweating by increasing your rate of evaporation. Removing sweat wetness from your skin. Accelerating the sweating process.
6-Breathable Clothing – Use wicking made clothing to assist your sweat removal.
Use loosely fitted clothing to increase air flow and also improve sweat wetness removal.
The thinner the fabric, the better. If you can shed a layer, do it. Any extra insulation will only trap in more heat increasing your heat stress.
7-Avoiding Direct Sunlight – (How many degrees does direct sunlight raise your skin and body temp)
Use shaded areas when you warm up and cold down. Also make use of shade if available on your rest periods.
Shift your workouts to early morning and late evening to avoid the peak of the heat. Preventing the air temperature and direct sunlight from magnifying your heat stress.
Strategies to Cool Your Body
8-Cold Water Immersion – The most efficient way to reduce skin temperature and core body temperature. However, the lack of convenience and practicality make this an under utilized option.
Ice baths get all the attention because of their high use in professional sports. But cold water immersion becomes more manageable, mentally and physically, at 50-60°F. While maintaining its effectiveness in quickly cooling the body.
If you live near any of these natural cold spots: creeks, lakes, rivers and oceans. Then go take a plunge during the warmer months as these cold spots stay cool year round.
The convenience of swimming pools make it the most popular cold water immersion option. Even 90°F water helps cool the body.
Showers seem like a suitable replacement strategy due to increased convenience. But the lack of surface area exposure to cold water makes this a less effective strategy when compared to cold water immersion. However, the convenience, perceptual relief, and skin cooling make it a viable and effective alternative.
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